Who's Number One in college basketball after Kentucky's defeat? The Monday Rewind tips off the debate.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – It's that time of year. Frost on the windshield, followed by short-sleeve shirt weather in the afternoon. College football one minute, college basketball the next. It's not a competition on our sports calendars. Consider it an enhancement.
It's also an enhancement to the Monday Rewind. I'll start with the Top 25 ballot that I sent to the Associated Press for the college basketball poll that will be out later Monday. I'll end, as usual, with my Top 10 in college football.
But first, my hoops Top 25.
Last week I had Michigan State ranked second and Kentucky ranked first. Number two beat number one -- and stayed number two.
Two things – I was more impressed by Kansas in the Jayhawks' 11-point win over Duke than I was by Michigan State in the Spartans' four-point victory over Kentucky.
But I didn't finalize my choice until Friday night. I watched Michigan State sleep-walk to a nine-point win against Columbia, a second-division Ivy League team that had just lost to Manhattan. That's not the way I like my number one team to play. Sorry, Sparty. Take a number and get in line.
My Top 25
2. Michigan State
8. Ohio State
9. Oklahoma State
13. Wichita State
19. North Carolina
22. New Mexico
25. Iowa State
STRING MUSIC FOREVER
If you're making a list of the 10 most important people in the history of Southeastern Conference basketball, make sure you put Joe Dean near the top of the list.
Not because of how many points that he scored, even though Dean scored plenty during his splendid career at Louisiana State, where he also served as the athletic director. But in a football culture, Dean did as much to sell SEC basketball as Adolph Rupp, Pete Maravich, Bernie and Ernie or anybody else who performed in the league.
You remember his signature call: String music.
It resonated with basketball fans from Starkville to Knoxville, creating young fans in a world where blocking and tackling ruled.
You knew it was time to pay attention when Joe Dean was in town, usually with his play-by-play sidekick Tom Hammond. Folks in Birmingham tried to keep talking spring football, but Dean talked over them. His calling card was passion and excitement. His personality carried the telecast through the blowouts. He was The Voice of the SEC Tournament. He was also The Face of the SEC Tournament, parking in the press room and sharing his love and history of SEC hoops with anybody who wanted to listen.
Whenever you saw Joe, he was ready to sell SEC basketball – and the league always had a ton of talented players (Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal, Bernard King, Ernie Grunfeld, Dominique Wilkins and all the Kentucky guys) and colorful coaches (Hugh Durham, Dale Brown, Norm Sloan, Sonny Smith and more) to sell.
Don't forget that he was a native of New Albany. He always made a trip back to town around the holidays to visit his mother. His son, Joe Dean, Jr., worked at UK as an assistant coach to Joe B. Hall.
Well done, Joe Dean, well done.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL SHOCK-THE-WORLD METER
The pre-season polls and magazines are fantastic. They carry the conversation in June, July and August before the serious blocking and tackling arrives. But I also enjoy looking at the pre-season polls in November, simply to make a note of who got it right – and who got it wrong.
Which teams can play the No-Respect card with sincerity?
Start with Auburn. There were 43 teams that earned votes in the AP pre-season college football poll. Add 10 more teams to that list in the Coaches' poll, and make sure you include programs like Vanderbilt, Ohio University, Rutgers and Arkansas.
Auburn did not receive a single vote.
Ditto for Missouri.
It's Tiger Time in the Top 10. Auburn sits at six in the BCS standings while Missouri is eighth. Both teams have a shot at the SEC title – and the BCS title game.
Don't forget UCF. The Knights were ranked 48th in the Coaches' poll and have surged to 18th in the BCS standings. With two more wins, UCF will win the American Athletic Conference as well as a BCS bowl bid.
I'll give a special shoutout to Minnesota, another team program ignored in the pre-season polls. Now the Gophers are ranked 25th, in a season where their coach, Jerry Kill, has been working from the press box while battling through health concerns.
Here is the flip side: There are 10 teams that began the season ranked in the AP Top 25 that failed to make the latest BCS rankings.
This is the list:
Georgia 5; Florida 10; Notre Dame 14; Texas 15; Michigan 17; Nebraska 18; Boise State 19; TCU 20; Northwestern 22; and Oregon State 25.
READING THE HOT SEAT
It's already been an uncomfortable season on the college football hot seat. Lane Kiffin of USC, Paul Pasqualoni of UConn and three others failed to make it to November. Fan agitation is only starting to kick in. Here are five guys who probably don't like what they're reading when they open their e-mails:
Bo Pelini, Nebraska – You can't bash your fans in a post-game interview, even if the audio is two years old when it is leaked. At least you can't bash them after giving up 70 points in the conference championship game one season and then failing to make it the title game the next year. The Cornhuskers are 7-3 with a legitimate shot at 8-4. That won't play – on audio or video.
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia – Remember when the Mountaineers couldn't wait to ease Bill Stewart out the door and were doing jumping jacks about their move to the Big 12? They won't be going to a bowl game this season and just watched Kansas storm the field against them. They're 4-7 – and two of the wins were against William & Mary and Georgia State. Is Rich Rodriguez available?
Mack Brown, Texas – Sometimes it's just time for a change. This is one of those times. This is a Top Five job that is barely getting Top 40 production.
Mike London, Virginia – The Cavaliers are 0-6 in the ACC, and you don't have to do much searching to find stories about what London needs to do to save his job.
Norm Chow, Hawaii – Chow was great as an offensive coordinator. As a head coach, he's just another guy who should have stayed in his last job, winless in 10 games in paradise.